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This is one of the most compelling newspaper articles about the fire service I have read in some team. Washington Post reporter J. Freedom du Lac takes us inside the world of Kevin O’Toole and Ethan Sorrell, two young firefighters with the Bladensburg VFD in Prince George’s County, Maryland who almost died in a house fire on February 24, 2012. The two friends tell their story from that awful night and you learn what their lives have been like since they were critically injured. Here’s how it begins, but take the time to read the whole article:
He didn’t hide his scars. That part of the healing had finally begun.
Nearly half of Kevin O’Toole’s body had been burned the night a vacant house turned into a firetrap, injuring seven Prince George’s County firefighters. O’Toole had gotten the worst of an arsonist’s malevolence, and surgeons had operated on him 13 times since – at first to save his life; more recently to reconstruct his hands, which were so badly damaged that doctors feared that he’d never regain use of the right and that they’d have to amputate the left.
Now he was sitting in the Bladensburg Volunteer Fire Department’s day room, the same spot he’d been when the box alarm sounded on the night everything went wrong. The 22-year-old from New York still couldn’t withstand exposure to open flames or serious heat. Even so, O’Toole had traveled four hours from Long Island just to pass time with the guys at the firehouse and help out however he could. A year and a half into his recovery, it was as close as he could get to re-becoming who he’d been.